(urth) Re: New Sun dilemna

maru marudubshinki at gmail.com
Thu Apr 7 15:25:03 PDT 2005

Chris wrote:

> Kieran said:
>> Well, as a Catholic and a reader of Wolfe I have found this thread to 
>> be rather odd.   Your point seems to be that any change in the future 
>> of Urth that causes the death of anyone is immoral.   The supposition 
>> is that the "Frozen Urth" future is the "true future" and that 
>> "Reborn Urth" is some choice that Severian makes leading to the 
>> deaths of millions.
> By my reckoning neither is the "true future"; in reality we have no 
> such conveniences to fall back on. If that's the case then you are 
> left with the immediate effect of your actions on people who already 
> exist. The effect, in this case, is devastating.
So you are arguing that any decision procedure based on probabilities is 

>> I always thought that the inhabitants of Urth got to choose their 
>> future - that was the point of the battle in UotNS.   Those who 
>> opposed the New Sun fought those who favored it.  The New Sun won.
> This sounds just a bit too much like "might makes right". But the 
> trial is an interesting issue to explore in its own right. Someone 
> noted that at the time they held the trial, at least some involved 
> already knew that Severian was the one who was going to bring the New 
> Sun. What *was* the point of the trial? Well, if I remember correctly, 
> for one thing, it somehow sealed the *inevitable* truth of the New Sun 
> future.
I recall the explanation being that the New Sun, before the trial, was 
*probable* but not certain. After the trial it was dead certain.  Why 
though probably has to do more with consent issues.

> This brings up something odd. I don't bring this up as a rhetorical 
> point but as a serious question. Why would the Hierogrammates set up 
> such a demanding test for an outcome which was actually *desirable*? 
> (Assuming the outcome was, in fact, desirable). Why not, instead, 
> offer it to the first Autarch that came along - or just do it on their 
> own accord? The idea that they would only put it in motion when it had 
> reached the point of inevitability makes the New Sun sound as if it 
> were an undesirable outcome for them. Or at least, not an unqualified 
> good.
If you want to perform some risky, yet necessary surgery (like a heart 
bypass), you don't simply do it. You get consent.

>> For me the analogy is a poisoned bog that has some critters eking out 
>> some existence in it.  You might choose to clean it up, but in doing 
>> so you wreak havoc on those already there, or who are adapted to the 
>> poisons.   So you should just leave it a toxic dump.
> Or move the critters to new environs.
>> Let's say Severian had to go to Briah to *stop* the arrival of the 
>> White Fountain and keep the Urth on its current path of freezing in 
>> the dark.  Are you arguing that that would be a better choice?
> Are you arguing that these are the only two possible choices?
> Civet

Do you see any other choices that don't break down into 'New Sun comes' 
or 'New Sun doesn't come'?
Much as I hate to say, this would seem a pretty solidly binary choice.


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